Batman vs. Superman: Well Worth The Wait!
It’s early, shortly after 6am as I write this. I’m a little blurry eyed having gone to the 9pm showing of Batman vs. Superman. I’ve waited for almost four years to see this movie. While the mighty Marvel empire continued to grow and produce many awesome pictures based off of their infinite comic book line, DC has only produced but a few movies. BVS is to be the launching point, the answer to the Avengers and finally put the Justice League on the big screen. Was it worth it? Hell yes!
Now, before I get into this review let me say two things. One: there will be some minor spoilers in the review. Anyone following the movie and has read the comics will know the basic set up for the movie but believe me, they came in with some different angles that surprised me so I’ll try to keep them out. If you don’t want to hear any more just know that it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie for this long time fan of the capes and comics.
Two: anytime someone sets out to produce their interpretation of an intellectual property, be it a novel, short story, or a comic book they are going to tell their version of the Truth. Much like religion, people read the words and take them to heart based off of their life, their upbringing, their loves and hates. We all see the world through our own filtered lenses and when we go to see a movie based off of something we are familiar with we have to remember that the movie is just that: someone else’s reality blown up on the big screen.
With that being said, I loved this “interpretation” of these characters! In a whole, I watched a solid plot with a number of twists play out with mind-blowing graphics, characters with deep emotional baggage, and dialogue that did not make me cringe, toss my popcorn bucket over my head and run from the theater. And for the naysayers out there I agree this wasn’t a perfect picture but are there many perfect pictures? How many love Indiana Jones? How many watched the Big Bang Theory when Amy Farrah Fowler debunked Indy’s role in the story to Sheldon Cooper? Laughed my ass off during that one.
BVS is a movie that followed the near destruction of Metropolis after the battle between General Zod and Superman. It left an uneasy feeling on the lives directly and indirectly affected. Two characters, Bruce Wayne/ Batman and Lex Luthor take a direct approach in hopes that this never happens again. As the movie progresses we see how deeply the events from two years prior rooted themselves in these men and the lengths they will go to prevent further devastation.
Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex was a different take and one I found interesting. He wasn’t the thorough, calculated genius he is often portrayed as in many others versions. He was tipped over the edge, mentally unstable, and became more unhinged as the clock ticked away. I liked it and loved that they didn’t kill him off in the end. Luthor will be back and more dangerous than ever,
Ben Affleck… Ben Affleck… is BATMAN! I so enjoyed watching the pretty boy socialite, the hard-nosed business mogul, and the brooding intensity that makes Batman one of the most interesting characters in comic book history. He was the only line of defense in an unjust world. He was the dark knight detective piecing a puzzle together. He was Batman. I cannot wait to see what the solo movies have in store. Ben sold me in so many ways. And yes, this version of the Bats was amped up and far more dangerous than previous caped crusaders but numerous times Alfred (Jeremy Irons with an understated but solid performance) reminds Bruce that he’s letting the events turn him… cruel.
Henry Cavill’s Clark/ Superman at times was a little weak and others blistering fun. Something that I missed was that the awe Superman can strike in people. There was more fear being flung around to which I understood but I missed the times when Supes would step up and give one of his classic boy scout speeches that slowed down everyone and cooled the boiling attitudes. Though during his fight with Batman his face was a constant mix of anger and perplexity. When he takes a solid swing at Batman only to have to blocked I almost felt sorry for the boy in blue.
To briefly touch on other roles, many supporting characters from Man of Steel came back which helped anchor the movie. Amy Adams’ Lois was still the hard-nosed journalist that stuck that nose out too far several times. Diane Lane’s Martha Kent played a crucial part and was still the warm-hearted mother so worried about her boy of steel. She also had a great line towards the end when she meets Batman face to face. You’ll know when you see it. Many new faces appeared, such as Holly Hunter playing a senator that Lex was trying to sway in his favor. Even briefly on the screen, Holly presented several layers to her character and during one scene left me speechless.
And what about Wonder Woman? Well, Gal Gadot surprised me. She’s not a heavy hitter with years of meaty roles under her belt but she is fun to watch as Wonder Woman. Early on she drifts in and out of Bruce’s quest as she tries to cover up some past indiscretions. During the climactic battle, she straps on her armor and bracelets and charges into not so certain death. She was fierce, a wild warrior loving the thrill of the fight. During one scene when she is knocked to the ground, blasted through concrete and rubble, she looks up with a wild smile and leaps back in for more. Most may not know but Wonder Woman is nearly Superman’s equal. Her only downfall is that she isn’t as bullet proof as he. It was a blast watching her, Bats, and Superman tackle the final threat.
So now to point out a few moments that I was surprised to see. When the creature Doomsday starts battling Superman, instead of plowing through the city, Supes flies him off the planet in an attempt to launch the creature into space. Smart. Remove the threat with the least amount of casualties. The Batman/ Nightmare sequence that involved the omega symbol and ominous dystopian future came in as a classic comic book writing trope. It wasn’t a thin premonition that they just gave Batman but an allusion of possibilities to come. There were a number of times that the story surprised me and I even jumped out of my seat on several shocking occasions. A few moments paid homage to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns which was a must for the film. They couldn’t have borrowed from that story without shamelessly throwing out some classic shots from the book.
What I didn’t enjoy was how they introduced the future Justice League on the screen. It felt like it was shoehorned in with very little thought. I could have been handled better and if I’m not mistaken there was a moment when the Flash makes a dramatic appearance prior to that. It was hard to tell but it left me smiling for a while afterwards. Also the end fight was visually hard to follow at times. There was so much energy firing off that it blinded me from the heroes in action.In all, I’ll likely see this again and will definitely add it to my superhero library. It was well worth the wait and more than the price of admission. I strongly suggest that if you haven’t seen it don’t go in with the notion that it will stick 100% to classic cannon. It holds strong to the framework and builds from it in a satisfying story. Bad guys are bad. Heroes make tough choices. There are laughs. Moments to cheer. Moments to fear. And in the end, a need to see the next chapter unfold.